Aug 5, 2021 - World

Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi sworn in as Iran's new president

Ebrahim Raisi speaking at his swearing-in ceremony at the Iranian parliament in Tehran on Aug. 5.
Ebrahim Raisi speaking at his swearing-in ceremony at the Iranian parliament in Tehran on Aug. 5. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as Iran's new president in Tehran on Thursday amid tensions with the West and economic pressure and unrest from U.S. sanctions.

Why it matters: Raisi's four-year presidency solidifies Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's anti-Western hold on all branches of Iran's government and positions Raisi as a leading candidate to succeed Khamenei.

  • Raisi easily won the presidential election last month, though the field was essentially cleared for him after Iran's Guardian Council disqualified all of the leading reformist candidates.
  • He replaces Hassan Rouhani, who was considered a relative moderate.

What he's saying: "In the presence of the holy Quran and before the nation, I swear to the omnipotent God to safeguard the official religion of the country and the Islamic Republic as well as the country’s constitution," Raisi told parliament and foreign dignitaries in a ceremony broadcast live on state television, according to Reuters.

  • "The Iranian people expect the new government to improve their livelihoods," Raisi said after the swearing-in. "All illegal U.S. sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted."

The big picture: The U.S. warned Iran after Raisi's victory that his new government would not win more concessions by attempting to renegotiate understandings that were recently agreed to in Vienna on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • The talks had been suspended by the Iranians to give Raisi time to assemble his own negotiating team.
  • The U.S. and U.K. blamed Iran for a drone strike on an Israeli-owned oil tanker in the Arabian sea last week, and Israel has threatened to retaliate, according to AP.
  • The U.S. imposed sanctions on Raisi in 2019 for alleged human rights abuses when he was a judge.
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